Technology Trends to Look Out for in 2014 and Beyond

By Neil Smith

Technology plays a vital role in shaping the business landscape. The pace of innovations and technology changes often impels organizations to move to next generation of business solutions. Gartner recently highlighted the top ten technologies and trends that are rapidly gathering momentum and will be strategic for most organizations in 2014. What follows is our reflection on these trends and how we feel these factors influence demand for a particular technology by end users or the business leaders, potential disruption of business models and a need for major investment.

  • Mobile device diversity and management – In the next few years the mobile workforce will double or triple due to the concept of bring your own device (BYOD). Companies are going to set policies and architecture to keep the data safe while balancing the flexibility with confidentiality and privacy requirements for employees. This would lead to a high demand for technologies that aid in mobile device management and security
  • The era of mobile apps – Improved JavaScript performance will make HTML5 and the browser a go-to enterprise application development tool. Apps will grow and applications will shrink, the mobile apps trend will push developers to use a variety of tools and expand their UI model with richer video and voice to connect people in new and different ways. Gartner estimates that there will be more than 100 potential tool vendors for consumer and enterprise apps.  Companies should develop targeted mobile apps that can “snap together” to create larger applications
  • The internet of everything (IoE) – Gartner has been pitching for the internet of everything as a concept that will revolutionize business models. Where would internet lead us; it’ll expand into enterprise assets and consumer items. The problem is that most enterprises and technology vendors have yet to explore the possibilities of an expanded internet and are not operationally or organizationally ready. There are four basic usage models; manage, monetize, operate and extend. Each of these models can be applied to any of the four internets i.e. people, things, information and places
  • A hybrid cloud and IT as service broker – Gartner advocates that the development of private cloud into hybrid clouds is essential, which is where behoove of Cloud Service Brokers (CSB) emerge, who will manage aggregation, integration and customization of services. Gartner also suggests that enterprises should design private cloud services with a hybrid future in mind and make sure future integration/interoperability is possible
  • Cloud/Client architecture – cloud-client architectures are shifting. As the power and capability of the many mobile devices increases, mobile applications will require infrastructure and network changes to manage bandwidth, in some cases, to minimize the cloud application computing and storage footprint, and to exploit the intelligence and storage of the client device. Gartner says “The increasingly complex demands of mobile users will drive apps to demand increasing amounts of server-side computing and storage capacity.”
  • The era of personal cloud – the personal cloud era will move from devices to services. The type of device used will become less important and users will leverage this by using multiple devices
  • Software Defined Anything – Software-defined anything (SDx) is a collective term for improved standards for “infrastructure programmability and data center interoperability driven by automation inherent to cloud computing, DevOps and fast infrastructure provisioning”. The predominate vendors in a given sector of infrastructure may  elect not to support standards in practice and take their core businesses away; however it’s beneficial for end-customer in terms of simplicity, cost reduction opportunities, and the possibility for consolidation
  • Web-Scale IT – IT organizations should align and emulate processes, architecture and practices of leading Cloud providers such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc., where they are re-inventing the way in which IT services are delivered. The capabilities of these companies go beyond the scale in terms of sheer size to also include scale as it pertains to speed and agility. Gartner calls the combination of all of these elements Web-scale IT
  • Smart Machines – The smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT. The smart machine era will blossom with a proliferation of contextually aware, intelligent personal assistants, smart advisors (such as IBM Watson), advanced global industrial systems and autonomous vehicles. If anything, smart machines will strengthen the forces of consumerization after the first surge of enterprise buying commences
  • 3-D Printing – 3D printing market is expected to grow by 75 percent in 2014 and a doubling of unit shipments in expected by 2015. Gartner suggests that “the consumer market hype has made organizations aware of the fact that 3D printing is a real, viable and cost-effective means to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing”

 IT trends and innovations create opportunities and affect organizational infrastructure that links and engages employees, customers and suppliers. To be in the competition, be an early adopter and gain competitive advantage!

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